Richard Andrew Olkusz
Richard Andrew Olkusz, “Ricky” to his friends and family, is on a life mission – to perfect his words and bring poetic dimension to a secondary world. The diverse experiences that accompanied his eighteen-year surveying career profoundly shaped his life. The daily measuring of real estate and construction properties fueled his love of poetic description, humorous anecdotes, spiritualism, and paranormal investigation. Ricky and his business partner, Dave, ran Olkwood publishing since 2007, where they developed rules for a tabletop R.P.G. and created Afternity. Ricky works from home drafting maps using AutoCAD, he continues to write novels, poetry, and short stories, which have yielded nearly a million words of fiction overall. Ricky supports the pursuit of creative obsessions by hosting Joe’s Writers Club Podcast, an affiliation of Joe’s Writers Club, LLC, and by contributing his fictional works to its Corporate Gothic anthology, a selection of short stories set in haunted work spaces.
As a 15-year veteran English teacher, Julie Jirout’s fiction often features the promotion of literacy and the theme of justice. As Julie completed a Master’s Degree in English Education, she took linguistics classes that inspired a love of editing. When she isn’t experimenting with new recipes, reading, or watching PBS documentaries, she’s exploring the first-person voice in a new character or discussing fiction and language in her blog. With a focus on the clarity of English expression, Julie’s Blue Water Writing features bi-weekly posts. As Editor and participant, Julie provides feedback and support for its weekly podcasts and video recordings. For Joe’s Writers’ Club Corporate Gothic anthology, Julie submitted two short stories. Recently, Julie published her first Kindle Short Read, “There’s a War on Here”.
B. Lawrence began writing at his elementary school desk and finished his first short story during high school. As an adult, B. improved his skill set and expanded his literary influences. Most satisfied creating worlds for his characters, B. followed up his first action novel in 2008 with a full-length spy novel. As a die-hard sports fan, it is not surprising that B.’s third novel features baseball players in peril with a playoff berth on the line. B.’s interest in sports goes beyond writing and extends to the playing field where he coaches youth basketball and football. A music lover and a movie buff, B.’s fiction often showcases movie and music references. As the Social Media Representative for Joe’s Writers Club and as an active member and contributor, B. recently completed and shared two short stories.
From an early age, Tom had an attraction to the fantastic. His love of movies began at an early age when he saw Disney’s 20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea. Captain Nemo opened an entire world for Tom. He was thrilled to discover that it was a book. Nemo is Tom’s favorite fictional character, empathizing with the captain as he wages war on War itself. Tom has written a Star Trek novel in which the Enterprise discovers Nemo and his crew living in a terraformed solar system hidden within a nebula.
In the 4th grade, Tom read Flying Saucers: Serious Business by Frank Edwards. This had an enormous impact on Tom’s world view, for the Universe held infinite wonders. In short order, his research included Bigfoot, UFOs, Cryptozoology and Ancient Astronauts.
Tom has read as many SF, Fantasy and Horror stories as he could get his hands on. Among his favorites are H. P. Lovecraft, H. G. Wells and Richard Matheson. Sherlock Holmes introduced Tom to a series with a continuing character. From there, he found series with Spenser, Parker, Dortmunder, Conan, Gandalf and even Dracula. The possibilities for a series had great impact on Tom’s future writing.
In college, Tom wrote his first serious short story. Night of Fate concerned John Pentgram, an Anomalist who gets bitten by a werewolf. It has become the pivotal story in Pentgram’s life, with dozens of stories taking place both before and after the werewolf attack. This allows Tom to explore two different sides of a complex character.
Tom was introduced to War Games by his best friend, Pete, while in college. The two men have been inseparable since then, with each of them being the Best Man at the other’s wedding. Gaming is their shared obsession. Tom designed his first game in 1977, making a game based on the Death Star trench scene from Star Wars. In 2014, Tom helped design and publish Secrets of the Lost Tomb, a board game filled with details from all the things Tom has loved all his life.
Marriage to Tracy and the birth of their daughter Ariel added more perspective to Tom’s life. At the time of Ariel’s birth, Tom had written about 80% of War of the God Shards, a fantasy epic. He put aside this work for 27 years as he focused on raising his family. Recently, he has begun to revise this work with eyes on completing it finally.
Music also plays an important part in Tom’s life. He is immune to Top 40s radio and has discovered what he likes on his own. This has given him a very diverse musical appreciation. His favorite pieces are: “The Planets” by Gustav Holst, “Rhapsody in Blue” by Gershwin and “We Must Believe in Magic” by Crystal Gayle. His great music love is film music. A love for film music has gone with his love films. Tom has seen over 14,000 films. His favorite film is The Thing from Another World. It has been his favorite since Tom was ten years old.
On a more personal side, Tom and Ariel are avid bowlers. Their goal is to one day crack the 250-game barrier. Tom and his family live with three cats. Two of them are Rag Doll/Maine Coon mixed brothers named Thor and Loki. Their third cat is a polydactyl female named Gypsy.
Michael Gary Wirth
Hailing from central New Jersey, Michael Gary Wirth has always had a penchant for the film industry. From a young age, he devoured any movie he could, from Citizen Kane to Ghostbusters. When asked in high school to choose a major, Michael settled on Electronic Filmmaking at New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University.
In pursuit of financial stability, Michael received a bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications. With the realization that his passion didn’t lie in graphic arts but in writing instead, Michael set out to write his first full-length novel, The Non-Linear Flow of the Universal Tides. After finishing its sequel, The Relentless Pursuit of the Cosmic Awareness, Michael followed up with the techno-detective-noir mystery Imperfect Recall.
With three full-length novels completed, Michael returned to his original passion: movies and filmmaking and collaborated with director Louie Cortes to co-write a short film, “Eve.” Currently being solicited to film festivals, a teaser trailer for “Eve” is available on Vimeo.
Michael dabbled in online journalism, writing for outlets like Sub-Cultured.com and ComicBooked.com. In his articles, Michael wrote reviews for movies, books and comic books as well as tidbits of breaking news for the discerning geek.
When he isn’t searching for a new plot, navigating bowling-alley-dimensions or helping to solve the mystery of a billionaire-tech-genius’ death, Michael enjoys travelling with his beautiful wife, Lauren. The countries they’ve visited and the exciting adventures they’ve shared have expanded his mind and enriched his writing.
He also has a cat.